Google claims that a feature that has been consistently requested for App Engine was the addition of full text search. Those requests have not gone unheeded as Google has announced the feature to now be available.
Google and its newly christened Google App Engine Full Text Search Team announced the feature’s availability yesterday. The project was announced at Google I/O last year, but this week marks its first time being available to the public on an experimental basis.
So what does the experimental Search API accomplish? According to the Google Developers page for the API, it “allows your application to perform Google-like searches over structured data. You can search across several different types of data (plain text, HTML, atom, numbers, and dates). Searches return a sorted list of matching text, and you can customize the sorting and presentation of results.”
The awesome part is that Google has created a test sample to let you get acquainted with how the new search function works. I’ve played around with it for a bit and found it to be extremely fast and easy to use. It picks up every single instance of the word or phrase I typed in throughout the text.
It’s important to reiterate that this feature is still in the experimental stage. It should be mostly stable, but there will be bugs and other problems throughout the early days. That’s why Google needs developers to help test out the new full text search feature so it can get a firm grasp on all the bugs that need fixing. There’s already 14 open issues with the feature so help Google find more bugs so the feature can move from experimental to fully stable.
It’s also worth mentioning that the Search API only works with applications using the High Replication Datastore. If your App Engine application is still using the old Master/Slave Datastore, you’re going to have to upgrade to take advantage of the new API.
To get more information on the Search API and what it brings to App Engine, check out the video from last year’s Google I/O. I’m sure Google will talk about it again at this year’s I/O conference as well.